Habs Goalie: Budaj (W)
Opposition Goalie: Khabibulin (L)
Habs goalscorers: Subban, Pacioretty (2), Kaberle, Eller
Opposition goalscorers: Horcoff, Omark, Hall
A loss probably would have been better here, so in reality, Edmonton actually won this one. But, if I must look for the nicest play that the Habs made, regardless of the fact that it led to a win, then I will. That play, I thought, was Subban's PP goal. The passing that led to the goal was quick and precise and exactly the type of passing that has been lacking on our power-plays. The other thing lacking has been PK's booming shot which was the second reason why he scored his 6th of the season on this play.
Scott almost won the game-puck tonight as Edmonton's porous defence was just what he needed. Unfortunately for Gomez, we only play Edmonton twice a year and usually he has to contend with teams that have NHL defencemen and some sort of defensive strategy. When Scott plays like he did tonight he is a good player, but I fear, for his sake, that his chances have long since run out.
Max Pacioretty - Game Puck
For all those who said that Max was a 30-goal socrer, congratulations, you were right. He added another two to his tally tonight and now looks to have 35 in his sights. And, who knows, an extremely hot 14 games could take him dangerously close to 40. We have a good player in Patches going forward, a player who will hopefully be a 30/70 type player for the next few seasons.
I don't know if my linemates are as bad as Plekanec's and I play in about the lowest division of men's hockey possible. So, to see Tom go about his business and still be one of our better players says a lot. We'll probably get a centre, somehow, this summer, so where will Pleks fit in? Will he finally be a #2 behind a proper #1 (still liking that Gomez for Koivu swap? anyone?) or has Desharnais supplanted him? What about Gomez and Eller, do we have to play them on top-3 lines? At centre? In Montreal? Regardless, I respect Plekanec for playing out the season with heart and class.
Josh was maybe the only defenceman out there tonight, on either team, that a good team may employ to play defence for them; at least in the way everyone played tonight. Kudos then to Gorges for playing NHL D in a very open game. Tonight highlighted the very reason why Edmonton continue to be bad and why they have no need for any highly skilled Russian forwards.
PK picked up 3 points tonight and now, kind of quietly, has 30 on the season. He'll likely end up with 35-40 points which isn't bad considering the fact that a lot of people were looking to his lack of production as a reason for our troubles this year. Next year I would like to find a way to make him more a #2/3 for defensive responsibilities so that we can tap his offence even more.
This wasn't Peter's best game, but in the end he got the win and made a lot of good saves along the way. I am sure that management wouldn't have minded a loss tonight, and that may have been the reason for seeing Budaj in there, but I am sure that he had no interest in taking another loss and worsening his already unflattering stats. He may as well get some more playing time down the stretch, especially if we are serious about the draft.
We needed a loss, Edmonton needed a loss and we each needed the other team to win. Watching this game, however, you wouldn't have known that. Presumably, if we really wanted to lose we could (I mean, we have lost an awful lot of games that we were trying to win) and the same could be said for Edmonton. Both teams, however, went hard for the win as the players, not the management, were the ones out there, the ones that controlled the result. What we saw then, standings aside, was an 80's style Oilers game that had little to do with anything but speed, counter-attacks and scoring chances. It was actually a fairly exciting game to watch which made staying up late to watch and write a little more bearable than it could have been.
It is now on to Vancouver. Of more interest on Saturday, however, may be the Impact's first ever game in the MLS which also happens to be on the same day in the same city. Later on there will be a hockey game. If we lose, we'll probably be happy and if we win, against a very good Canuck team in their arena, we'll start asking ourselves, yet again, why we had to be so bad, for so long, against such equally bad teams. I for one don't want to start thinking that we would have or could have been good enough. I say, let's go through the motions on Saturday and let Vancouver get the 2 points that they need more than us.